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A looming crisis of children suffering abuse, neglect and poverty has been exposed, with growing numbers of young people taken into care in some of England’s most deprived communities during the pandemic.

A Guardian investigation into the state of children’s services in the last 18 months has revealed a sharp rise in social services referrals during lockdown, plus spiralling costs for mental health support and a bulging backlog in the family courts, with some councils buckling under the weight of the extra work brought by coronavirus.

Some local authorities are expected to overspend by up to £12m on children’s services this year, and leaders say they are “down to brass tacks” as they struggle to deal with the increase in demand.

Self-isolation and home schooling has placed families under increased financial pressure through unemployment or lost wages, as well as inflaming mental health problems and addiction problems. Successive lockdowns have increased domestic violence and allowed safeguarding concerns for children and young people to go undetected, because schools and some childcare settings were forced to close.

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source: Guardian Society
published: 11 August 2021

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